They say, when you fall off the horse, the only thing to do is get back on it before your fear stops you. So, after Saturday, I renewed my subscription to online dating sites. I promised to myself though that I am going to approach this with a statistical point of view: I need a batch of subjects greater than 1 to understand if it’s the average or the occasional bad luck. In order to do that, there are a few mistakes to be avoided in the future. Lessons learned from test subject nr. 1:

1) Do not, under any circumstance, exchange more than 6 messages with the guy before having any other kind of contact. If you do, you’re in trouble. Whenever you read an e-mail from someone (with more than 4 words) you do understand something about how they are. But just something. You can understand if they are literate or ignorant, if they are witty or dull, if they are fun or boring, if they are down to Earth or utterly megalomaniac. That’s the best case scenario. The information gathered from text can cover up to 40% of the way they are, the rest, whether consciously or not, will be filled in by your fantasy. You imagine a voice, an attitude, a behaviour, a rate of talkativeness, a way of approaching you, you most probably even imagine a gaze, because really pictures are NOT enough. And let me tell you, reality can be oh so far from it! Whenever you wonder: is it too good to be true? The answer is yes.

2) Do not, under any circumstance, wait more than 1 week before you meet the guy (2 if you write to each other only every 2-3 days – but don’t cheat!). The longer you wait, the longer your brain lingers on photoshopping images of the guy, in terms of appearance and character. And your brain is a bitch. Mine, for instance, somehow turned the picture I saw into Derek Phillips III (Billy Riggins from FNL). Right, like a guy like that would even have time to subscribe to online dating before an armada of women assailed him…

3) If you have stupidly done either one or both the things above and you are not the kind of girl who can fall for the ugliest man on the planet because he has a beautiful soul, do not, under any circumstance, agree to meet the guy before you’ve talked to him on the phone. This is a real wake up call. It’s the moment when you realise he doesn’t sound as sexy as Big Mike, maybe has rhotacism and reminds you of Rajesh Koothrappali when in front of a girl with no alcohol at hand.

4) Do not, under any circumstance, put yourself in the position of having to endure the date for more than 30 minutes, when all you could handle are 30 seconds. At times, when you see the guy, you want to run. But he may still be nice and outgoing and a good talk in front of a coffee. Or, he might make you want to run and still be unbearable. Now, let’s face it, you have to be free to run. Coffee, beer, ice cream: fine. Nothing that requires more than 15 minutes. If you want to stay you’ll always find a good excuse to… Ice skating? BAAAAAAAD idea!! And of course, someone who doesn’t live in your city: not good. Do you really want to ask the guy to drive for 2 hours and send him away after 20 minutes?

5) Do not, under any circumstance, write only to that guy and discard anyone else because he is better. He is better only because your pretty smarty brain cooked him up. Always write to more people. This helps you understand he is only one fish in the sea, not the blue whale, not the Portuguese man-o-war. Plus, this strategy is good to keep your hopes up: ok, it was gruesome, maybe next one will be better! (note to self: after 20 tries it might be time to give up, I’ll follow up on that).

6) Do not, under any circumstance, mislead the guy. Always pretend that you don’t really like him. Do not hint at possible second dates, do not compliment him in ways that expose your interest too much, do not OH GOSH DO NOT do anything even widely resembling flirting with the guy during the date if you don’t like him. Otherwise, at the end of a 21-December-2012-terrible date, you may even risk to be asked out on a second date. BE BRUTAL!

Bottom line is, do not wait until you actually care for the guy before clashing your dreams with reality. N-E-V-E-R!

It really looks like I didn’t do a single thing right. Lesson learnt. Oh Sa help me, lesson learnt!